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'She leaves a hole I can't believe,' says one LO friend
by:  Colleen Bennett

Lake Oswego community activist Colleen Bennett died Monday of a heart attack at the winter home she shared with her husband Joe, in Mesa, Ariz. She was 74.

Mrs. Bennett has been described as being in the 'top tier' of Lake Oswego community leaders for more than two decades.

'Colleen was one of the strongest supporters of our community's library and its programs,' said Cyndie Glazer, coordinator of programs and volunteer services at the Lake Oswego Public Library. 'You may know her as a member of the Lake Oswego Reads steering committee. She was formerly president of Friends of the Library and in that capacity was instrumental in helping us start LO Reads in 2007.'

'We are all crushed by the untimely loss of Colleen,' said Bill Baars, director of the Lake Oswego Library. 'Colleen was a tireless campaigner for library issues, and she spent decades campaigning for a new library, supporting library programs and events, diligently presiding over the Friends of the Library and the Booktique and she was instrumental in the passage of the Library District, which ensured permanent support for the libraries of Clackamas County. She was a terrific mentor for me as library director and I've always relied on her wise counsel and support. She defined the word 'inspiring.' She loved Lake Oswego and put her heart and soul into her efforts on behalf of this and future generations. It was an honor and a pleasure to know her and I will miss her terribly.'

Terry Huber, who had just taken over as president of the Friends of the Library this year, said, 'I received a call earlier this evening about Colleen - what a shock! I had coffee with her just before she left for Arizona and we spent a lot of time talking about the Friends and LO Reads. She was sorry to miss ('Cutting for Stone' author) Dr. (Abraham) Verghese's talk (for LO Reads on Feb. 21). Even though she was no longer president, her heart belonged to the Friends, LO Reads and the library. She will be missed by many, many people.'

Bennett was heavily involved with other civic groups, and held leadership roles in Lake Oswego Neighborhood Action Coalition, the League of Women Voters, and Keep Lake Oswego Great.

'She was bright, articulate, positive and upbeat,' said Chris Schetky, a longtime friend and colleague of Bennett's. 'She was passionate about what she cared about … always giving and willing to do what needed to be done. This is a tremendous loss, for me personally and for our community.'

Sherry Finnigan, another longtime friend and a member with Bennett of the League of Women Voters, shared similar thoughts.

'She just leaves a hole I can't believe,' Finnigan said.

Bennett served as state board president of LWV from 1989 to 1991 and on the nominating committee for LWV of the United States.

'We both served on the state board and would drive to Salem for meetings. We could talk league from Lake Oswego to Salem and never come up for air! She was a consummate league member,' said Finnigan.

Family members were unavailable for comment prior to press time.

An obituary and funeral arrangements will be published later.

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